Vodafone Uganda Urges Tourism Sector to Embrace New Technologies

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The tourism industry has been advised to leverage on new technology if they are to boost their business and position Uganda as a favorite tourist destination.

In his remarks during the 5th Vodafone Powertalks held Thursday at Kampala Serena Hotel, stomach the Vodafone Uganda Chief Technical Officer Derrick Sebbaale noted that technology is an enabler and that innovating for tourism will spur further growth.

“Uganda is fast becoming a leading tourism attraction globally and therefore SMEs in this sector will have to be more innovative and in tune with the current trends in order to benefit from the industry, more about ” he said.

With more people getting in the digital space, it’s estimated that 15 percent of room nights in Uganda are being booked online. Seven out of ten travellers world over use the internet as their primary source of information, according to a 2010 poll study by research company Eye for travel.

Sebbaale challenged stakeholders to consider investing more in technology and platforms that provide effective channels for pre-tour narratives about destinations, sites and cultures of Uganda.

Vodafone promised to provide internet connectivity within national parks to make it easier for visitors to instantly share their experiences.

Stephen Asiimwe the CEO Uganda Tourism Board re-echoed the significancy of technology in promoting Uganda saying; “UTB has established a fully-fledged IT department that generates content about Uganda’s many beautiful attractions.”

He mentioned that through their website, visitors can apply for a Visa as well as permits to access national parks.

Asiimwe says that UTB is partnering with the East African Tourism Platform and Kenyan counterparts to further enhance its digital presence.

Other discussants included Great Lakes Safaris CEO Amos Wekesa, Belinda Namutebi a communications specialist, Kelley MacTavish of Pearl of Africa Tours and Rosette Rugamba a tour operator in Rwanda.

Regional competitors like Kenya and Rwanda have similarly invested heavily in social media campaigns to grow their domestic tourism as well as sell their product to the global online audience.

According to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals in Uganda grew by 5 percent between January and April 2016. UTB says the country received 1.73 million visitors last year.

This presents an opportunity but also calls for more investment in a sector that contributes USD 2.5Bn to Uganda’s GDP.

During the forum, one lucky person Edwin Barungi won an air ticket to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways. Several other individuals also won trips to national parks and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) and Sesse Islands.

Edwin Barungi (C) being handed a dummy Etihad Airways ticket for a free trip to Abu Dhabi

Edwin Barungi (C) being handed a dummy Etihad Airways ticket for a free trip to Abu Dhabi


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